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Hongdae el CUBE gets serious about gaming

Apr 06,2018
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A digital image shows Lotte’s el CUBE in Hongdae, which will be transformed into a gaming department store today. [LOTTE DEPARTMENT STORE]
Lotte’s el CUBE Hongdae branch in western Seoul will transform into a “game department store,” starting from today.

The four-floor store will ditch the usual lineup of fashion and accessory brands and instead turn in to a gamer’s paradise including an expansive gaming zone with plastic figures and products themed around characters from famous online games for sale.

The change is not permanent, however, but the latest in a series of regular overhauls specific to el CUBE Hongdae.

A sub-brand under Lotte Department Store, el CUBE was made under the concept of a “mini department store” filled with trendy products that cater to a target audience of young consumers in their 20s and 30s.

The first among five el CUBE stores to open since 2016, the Hongdae branch has the youngest consumer base. To keep up with the fast-changing interests of its target consumers, the branch changes its entertainment facilities, brands and products every six months.

Lotte explained that the new gaming concept is also part of this regular content change - meaning that in six months the store may change to something completely different.

Lotte spotted the demand for game-related stores last year when they installed virtual reality games in part of Hongdae el CUBE.

“In October, we transformed the third floor to a virtual reality game zone and saw the number of visitors shoot up by more than 300 percent in the following three months,” the company said. “Operating el CUBE Hongdae as a specialized store for games came from the idea that there needs to be an offline space catering to the growing market for [online] games and goods.”

On the first floor, Netmarble’s first official goods store will open to present products and plastic figures themed on some of its most famous releases such as Seven Knights and Modoo Marble. Joy Hobby, a retailer of kidult products like plastic figures, robots and drones will take up the second floor.

On the third floor, there will be a game zone run by mobile game developer X.D. Global, which is due to open on April 13. Here, visitors can enjoy mobile games on site with coffee sold at the cafe on the same floor.

The basement floor will hold temporary pop-up stores, starting with a board game zone and a Nintendo Switch corner where consumers can try out and purchase the portable device.

“The el CUBE Hongdae has a consumer base even younger than other branches, which requires a fast implementation of changing trends and differentiating content,” said Ahn Dae-joon, head of Lotte Department Store’s women’s fashion section. “If the game concept at the el CUBE Hongdae branch works well, we will look into expanding the lineup of game-related products at our department stores as well.”


BY SONG KYOUNG-SON [song.kyoungson@joongang.co.kr]